Contemporary Poetry Review

CPR Recommends: 

Poetry Criticism

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          The following page is an attempt to provide students with the names of the great critics of English-language poetry, along with a list of their representative works. This list is not comprehensive, exhaustive, or complete. It makes no attempt to list significant works of literary criticism concerning other genres (such as fiction); it does not cover the significant poetry criticism of the last thirty years, and it does not offer a complete bibliography of the authors it mentions, ignoring all their works written on subjects other than poetry. As such, the list merely attempts to name those established and perennially influential works that are generally recognized as classic, so that the student may acquaint himself more easily with the landmarks of English and American poetry criticism.

          Finally, the student should also remember that this list does not mention those classic works of poetry criticism written in foreign languages. For example, no study of criticism would be complete without Aristotle, Longinus, and Horace--to name only the most influential of the ancient critics in English-speaking countries.                 


CPR Recommends: English Criticism

Sir Philip Sidney An Apologie For Poetrie (1595)
John Dryden Essays
Alexander Pope An Essay on Criticism (1711) 
Samuel Johnson The Lives of the English Poets (1779, 1781)
Preface to Shakespeare
Lord Byron English Bards and Scotch Reviewers (1809)
William Hazlitt My First Acquaintance with Poets
Characters of Shakespeare's Plays
(1817) The Spirit of the Age (1825)
Charles Lamb Specimens of English Dramatic Poets
The Essays of Elia (1823)
The Later Essays of Elia (1833) 
Samuel Taylor Coleridge Biographia Literaria (1817)
Lectures on Shakespeare
William Wordsworth Preface to the Lyrical Ballads (1798)
Percy Bysshe Shelley A Defence of Poetry (1821)
John Keats Letters
Matthew Arnold Essays in Criticism (1865, 1888)
On Translating Homer (1861)
Culture and Anarchy (1869)
Literature and Dogma (1873)
Algernon Charles Swinburne Essays and Studies (1875)
Arthur Symons  The Symbolist Movement in Literature (1899)
George Saintsbury A History of English Prosody (1908)
I. A. Richards Principles of Literary Criticism (1925)
Science and Poetry (1926)
Practical Criticism (1929)
Coleridge on Imagination (1934)
F. R. Leavis New Bearings in English Poetry (1932)
Revaluation (1936)
The Common Pursuit (1952)
W. B. Yeats       (Irish) Essays (1937)
Northrop Frye (Canadian) Fearful Symmetry (1947)
Anatomy of Criticism (1957)
W. H. Auden The Enchaféd Flood (1950)
The Dyer's Hand (1962)
Forewords and Afterwords (1973)
William Empson Seven Types of Ambiguity (1930)
Some Versions of Pastoral (1935)
The Structure of Complex Words (1951)
Using Biography (1985)
A. E. Housman The Name and Nature of Poetry (1933)
A. Alvarez Stewards of Excellence (1958)
The School of Donne (1961)
The Savage God (1971)


CPR Recommends: American Criticism

Ralph Waldo Emerson "The Poet" (from Essays, 1844)
Walt Whitman Democratic Vistas (1871)
Edgar Allan Poe "The Philosophy of Composition" (1846)
"The Poetic Principle"
"The Rationale of Verse"
George Santayana Interpretations of Poetry and Religion (1900)
Ezra Pound The Spirit of Romance (1910)
Pavannes and Divisions (1918)
Instigations (1920)
Indiscretions (1923)
How to Read (1931)
ABC of Reading (1934)
Polite Essays (1937)
Guide to Kulchur (1938)
Literary Essays (1954)
Selected Prose (1973)
T. S. Eliot Ezra Pound: His Metric and Poetry (1917)
The Sacred Wood (1920)
The Use of Poetry and the Use of Criticism (1933)
Selected Essays (1950)
Poetry and Drama (1951)
On Poetry And Poets (1957)
To Criticize The Critic

Selected Prose (1975) 
William Carlos Williams Kora in Hell (1920)
Selected Essays (1954)
Edmund Wilson Axel's Castle (1931)
F. O. Matthiessen The Achievement of T. S. Eliot (1935)
American Renaissance (1941)
John Crowe Ransom I'll Take My Stand (1930)
God Without Thunder (1930)
The World's Body (1938)
The New Criticism (1941)
Allen Tate Reactionary Essays (1936)
On the Limits of Poetry
The Man of Letters in the Modern World
Reason in Madness
Essays of Four Decades (1969)
R. P. Blackmur The Expense of Greatness (1940)
Language As Gesture (1952)
The Lion and the Honeycomb (1955)
A Primer of Ignorance (1967)
Yvor Winters Primitivism and Decadence (1937)
Maule's Curse (1938)
The Anatomy of Nonsense (1943)
In Defense of Reason (1947)
The Function of Criticism (1957) 
Cleanth Brooks Understanding Poetry (1938)
Modern Poetry and the Tradition (1939)
The Well Wrought Urn (1947)
Literary Criticism: A Short History (1957)
Kenneth Burke The Philosophy of Literary Form (1941)
A Grammar of Motives (1945)
Language As Symbolic Action  (1966)
Lionel Trilling Matthew Arnold (1939)
The Liberal Imagination (1950)
Beyond Culture (1965)
Wallace Stevens The Necessary Angel (1951)
R. S. Crane The Languages of Criticism and the Structure of Poetry (1953)
W. K. Wimsatt The Verbal Icon (1954)
Literary Criticism: A Short History (1957)
Hateful Contraries (1965)
The Day of the Leopards (1976)

Hart Crane Selected Letters
Hugh Kenner The Invisible Poet: T. S. Eliot (1959)
The Pound Era (1971)
Randall Jarrell Poetry and The Age (1953)
A Sad Heart at the Supermarket
The Third Book of Criticism
Kipling, Auden & Co.

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